Best Kids Parties: Say Cheese!

My Party: Tilly (College Station, TX)

You had us at cheese. Astrid shares her daughter's first birthday party: Our theme for the party was "Say Cheese!" which let us indulge in Tilly's love of cheddar and our love of cameras... what a fun combination it turned out to be! We had a house full of amazing friends and family, a kitchen full of dairy, and a back garden full of smiles and grins and fake mustaches as the guests made use of use of our DIY photo booth.

Guests loaded up plates with all things cheesy (mac and cheese with chicken, spicy sausage queso and chips, brie and crackers, as well as a few fruits and veggies) and signed Tilly's birthday table runner, which was laid out on the dining table.

The signature runner turned out even better than I'd hoped! The idea is to collect the names of every guest we have for every birthday. People signed in all sorts of ways -- with birthday messages, with names grouped together as families, in flowing script and in block capitals, with drawings of flowers and with stick-figure self-portraits. What a lovely way to remember all the people who joined us this year -- how funny it will be to see names reappear next year, and new names be added.

Out in the garden, we had tables set up, too, covered with the easiest tablecloths in the world. (Three yards of fabric ripped in half! I'm hoping they'll turn into a dress for Tilly after I wash the cake off...) We had bubbles on one table, and the blank photo props and a pack of crayons on the other table, to entertain the bigger kids. The colour-your-own-props worked out really well, and the children came up with some amazing designs, which they then proudly modeled in the photo booth.

When it came time for cake, she loved the candle (which remained at a safe distance until I blew it out... all she wanted to do was touch the flame!) on the little smash cake I'd made her, a.k.a. The Cream Bomb -- sponge cake with a hollow centre, filled with cream and strawberries, coated with cream and strawberries. Served up on a piggy plate. My dream cake.It turns out, Tilly just wanted the strawberries, and once they were picked off, she wasn't all that interested in it anymore. She'd been really keen on the broccoli earlier on, and had filled up on that, I think. I think I might be the first mother ever to say "my child ate so much broccoli that she didn't want any cake!"

I made her a little banner the night before, which read "let me eat cake", to add a little touch of fancy to a basic IKEA Antilop high-chair. A little ironic, it turns out, as I was trying to MAKE her eat cake. Tilly loved the pompoms -- I think it's safe to say she would have eaten one of them if I'd let her.

As a little party favour, we gave out miniature paper Polaroid cameras. My husband's parents kindly dug up their beautiful old Polaroid and brought it along for me to play with, so it was nice to see the little paper ones next to the real thing. I made tiny little Polaroid photos to come out of the slots, and Tilly wrote a little message for each of our guests, thanking them for coming.

Sources:
Polaroid printables from: Girlie Pains
Photobooth tutorial at my blog: Red Red Completely Red
Banner available at my Etsy shop: Red Red Completely Red shop
Printable photo props from: Oh Happy Day
Tablecloth fabric from: Joann's

Thanks Astrid! Readers, find Astrid at her blog or her shop.

(Images: Red Red Completely Red)

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Family, My Party

As Apartment Therapy's Family Editor, Carrie covers design and modern homelife with children. A lapsed librarian, she lives in Brooklyn with her husband and two kids and is in contention to break the record for most hours spent at the playground.

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